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Leslie Melville
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Does anyone know of a wholesaler in the U.K. of the ubiquitous Magic Wonder Mouse? My son has a magic market stall in Blackpool, pitching 'Svengalis' etc. and wants to add the mouse to his repertoire. shipping from the U.S. etc. renders the costs too high to pitch the item for £1.00.

Any advice will be appreciated.

Thanks.

Leslie
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*Mark Lewis*
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Alas, Leslie, nobody sells the mouse in England any more. Why don't you work the worm instead? It takes in more money anyway. Mind you it has probably been done to death in the UK now.

However, I do have an idea. You can buy the mice from America but sell it for more money by putting in a spooky pencil as part of the package. Then you can sell the package for two or three pounds. Or perhaps another way is simply to sell the Spooky Pencil on it's own. Johnny Neptune sold thousands of them this way. He had a nice package with a good flash but I never bothered. I just stick them complete with wax and thread in a freezer bag and sell them that way. You will get a pound for them easily enough. You may get the odd complaint or two but you would get that with the mouse anyway.

I know you ordered my mouse book recently. The demonstration for the Spooky Pencil is in there. It will only cost you a few pence to make up and you can sell it for a pound. My inclination would be to give it away with the Svengali deck and add another couple of items with it. Then you can sell the deck for more money. I can't suggest a price but I do know that Derek Ward has been working the cards for years in the UK for 10 pounds. He makes up a similar package.
Leslie Melville
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Thanks Mark for the advice, much appreciated.

Russ Brown tried the worm/fuzzle two years ago alongside the cards but found a lot of people bringing them back because they couldn't get them to work!

Bill Thompson of 'The House of Secrets' gave me bag of mice (about 70) a couple of weeks ago and we have been trying them out - I only saw them as an add-on. If they go well, then we thought we would get some more, but shipping charges from abroad are expensive (it doubles the overall cost!) so we thought we would try to locate a supplier nearer to home. I guess the pencil is the alternative answer.

We were intending to include the mouse/pencil with the Svengalis plus a booklet of twenty tricks with the cards - reproduced from an original Paul Clive publication. We will probably sell the three items for a fiver - we would be unlikely to get £10.00 in Blackpool - although it's a nice thought!

Thanks again for your observations.

Leslie.
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*Mark Lewis*
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I warn you that anything that involves a thread will get complaints. The partial secret to avoiding this is good instructions. Mind you some of the Blackpool punters can hardly read. If however the thread item is used as a giveaway the problem will not arise.

Working the worm on it's own has another problem. Sales of the cards will go down automatically. Yes,10 pounds would be hard to get in Blackpool since you have so many tight fisted Yorkshire punters there. You will easily get 5 pounds though.

Incidentally, for those of you that don't know Leslie was quite an established act in his heyday. It was known as "Leslie Melville and his Clairvoyant Hen". There was quite a controversy with Maurice Fogel at the time over the hen as I recall.
Leslie Melville
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You are certainly right about pitching items activated by thread - the classic example was the Dancing Skeleton or Charlie Chaplin that many street performers sold in my youth. Only 'fly' pitchers got away with that one! Are they still around?

We are not just selling Svengalis on the stall, we have light up thumbs, plastic cups and balls, Supernatural(Dynamic)Coins, Spot Paddles etc.. and even a compilation box of 125 tricks for £15.00.

I didn't know that you pitched on the Central Pier! Paul Clive was the first 'pitch artiste' I remember seeing when I was a little boy. He had a booth on the Central Pier where he pitched jokes! He was very good. He had great patter with the Plate Lifter, the Dribble Glass, the 'Holey' Spoon; also a double sucker that stuck a tea-cup to the saucer and he was amazing with the Bird Warbler! Few people talk about Paul Clive these days but he was very influential in my formative years. He wrote a great book about card magic, 'Card Tricks Without Skill'. I still see it on second-hand book stalls at conventions.

Fancy you remembering 'Madame Charmaine' my Clairvoyant Chicken! It all seems a long time ago! You are also right about the Maurice Fogel controversy. Anyone interested can read about it here:

http://www.thestorytelling-resource-cent......gel.html

Leslie
Stories....?....That's telling!
WillRoya
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The main item I sell uses thread, the hummer card, floating dollar, etc. I include a nice video with it and get no returns. I also tell everyone that they must practice and keep it a secret and to wait to get home until they open it because they will not understand it until they watch the video. I put my website on the package if they have a question, and get hardly any emails from it, maybe 1 out of every 1000 sold. I usally include a Svengali deck with it and another small trick and get $25 all day long.

An acquaintance of Don’s is trying to bring back the dancing characters; I think he calls them jumpy jumpers. I tried them out, but it wasn’t for me.

I would rather try to bring back the stunt glider / helicopter or the pop-ups. Those are some fun toys and haven’t been done for awhile, at least where I work. Splat balls are still a strong seller for me.
Leslie Melville
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AS I recall, the main issue with the dancing figures was that it required a specific set up to make it look as good as it did. The pitchmen selling them didn't make that clear! They suggested that the figure could be made to dance almost anywhere and that it was easy! Those who were persuaded to buy it weren't prepared to go to the trouble or didn't have the performing facility to do the prop justice.

Your remarks about your Hummer Card pitch endorses Mark's comment about having good instructions. You obviously do. We also make sure that anyone buying from us has the correct information and advice.

We are slightly different in as much as we are not just pitching Svengalis. The space offered isn't suitable. There isn't enough space to create a 'Hedge'. If we get a sizable crowd we create an obstruction and other traders would be entitled to complain. So we decided to make it a mini magic stall and sell other items. We do demonstrate most of what we sell and as a result, we sell more.

Leslie
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*Mark Lewis*
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Leslie. On reappraising your situation I think you would be better off without the mouse or the pencil. It isn't worth the hassle. You have enough items on the joint as it is. Furthermore, the mouse and the pencil draw crowds you don't want and fiddling about with the threads and making up the pencils won't be worth it.

I think you should sell the Svengali decks with the book you mention for 5 pounds and leave it at that. You are not in a situation where "lump ups" and giveaways are appropriate.

As for the dancing dolls they were originally worked with a two way mirror and it was quite an extravaganza. I think the late Cyril Critchlow of Blackpool may actually have had the original mould in his possession. He certainly had some of the merchandise which was sold to him by the late Eric Hicklin who, according to his former partner, Windbag Joe, stole off in the middle of the night, skipped out on the hotel with the merchandise, the mould and left Joe to pay the hotel bill. At least that was Joe's side of the story.

Windbag Joe was quite famous for working the "windbags" hence his name. It was a kind of game akin to the three shell game or the three card montey but with little bags. It may have been allied to the old purse swindle done on fairgrounds. I never saw him do it so I don't really know how it worked. Joe once told me, "Ronnie, (one of my names) if you ever work the dancing doll with the two way mirror and the set up, you will give up doing those cards immediately" He offered to teach me the whole thing but sadly passed away before it could happen.

The mamby-pamby magicians on this section have no idea what a wicked business the grafting business is. They really should be frequenting the gospel section instead of here.

As for Paul Clive I knew him well and he is mentioned quite a bit in my book, "The Lives of a Showman". And Blackpool is mentioned in a couple of chapters too. It is where I got my evil education. The two chapters which refer to Blackpool are entitled "The University of Evil" and "More Evil at the University"

And Blackpool was the university in question.
*Mark Lewis*
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I just read Leslie's story about Maurice Fogel and found it fascinating. I wonder if he ever reconciled with Maurice over the whole ugly business. I always considered Fogel to be the greatest mentalist I have ever seen. And he was always very nice to me and was sensible enough to quite like my card tricks.

As for Harry Gunn I think he actually gave me a gig or two years and years ago.
Jon-O the Great
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Quote:
The mamby-pamby magicians on this section have no idea what a wicked business the grafting business is. They really should be frequenting the gospel section instead of here.
It's obvious you do not understand the reason for this section of the Magic Café. Maybe that's why you act SOOO stupid here. The majority of the people on this site are NOT magicians. We SELL cards or worms or whatever. But we ARE NOT MAGICIANS. In Don's DVD, he SPECIFICALLY says not to attempt to be a 'magic store' but ONLY to sell cards or worms.

In my demo, when it comes to the 'secret' I say, "Ya know, a magician never reveals the secret. I am not a magician!"

So maybe you need to lighten up and realize that NOT EVERYONE loves to hear you reminisce about the 'good (or bad) old days'. They want some help and comraderie and to know there is someone out there with the same problems.

We do not need to be told how stupid we are, nor how we can never be as good as you. Maybe we will and maybe we won't but for you to constantly harp on how wonderful you are (or might have been) is not only STUPID--it's BOOOOOORING!! You may be old but you ACT LIKE A CHILD!! A spoiled one at that.

GROW UP! If you MUST spout off like Old Faithfu about how wonderful you are--PROVE IT!! Otherwise, go peddle your papers where someone appreciates your boring, egotistical and self-centered blaring. Because I can guarantee MOST OF US HERE DO NOT!

Jon
*Mark Lewis*
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Jon. You may not be a magician. But you are not a GRAFTER either. I have utterly no desire to help you or anyone else. In fact I hope you starve. You will not be getting help from me. And you will certainly not be getting "camraderie" from me, under any circumstances. And neither will anyone else. If you want that sort of thing go to a social club. I am a GRAFTER and have no need to chatter to mushrooms. And if you don't know what a mushroom is that means that you are one.

And Don does not know what he is talking about. Matthew and Leslie are doing the RIGHT thing in their situations. I know from years of experience that if they were to try to sell just worms and Svengali decks in their particular situation it would be not a good thing for them for various reasons an amateur wannabee like yourself would not understand. They NEED a great variety of merchandise. Other people won't but they do.

As for Leslie I know the indoor market he is working. It isn't a place for just the one product.

I shall talk to Leslie as much as I want about the good old days. He was one of the top pros of his day and in fact he is even older than you. It may be off topic but that is the way I want it to be. I have been selling Svengali decks for nearly 50 years. I am not here to educate the unworthy and create competition for myself. However, once in a while I will weaken and a morsel of information will drop off the wisdom tree. If you would just shut up it will drop off more often. When you show up I am even more determined to shut up and tell you nothing.

Stick with Don Driver and his outdated, impractical and useless information.
Jon-O the Great
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Jon. You may not be a magician. But you are not a GRAFTER either.
WELL! Even YOU are right ONCE in a while. I am NOT a grafter. I am a PITCHMAN! And have been for over 20 years. At least, I'm not BOOOOORING!

Quote:
I have utterly no desire to help you or anyone else. In fact I hope you starve. You will not be getting help from me.
BOOOOORING! Same song, UMPTEENTH VERSE!

Quote:
And Don does not know what he is talking about.
Lemme get this straight—Don has been doing this for over 30 years and made a DVD that helped DOZENS of people and HE doesn't know what he's talking about? YOU on the other hand, want to help NO ONE and don't mind saying it over and over and over? Sounds like SOUR GRAPES to me.

Quote:
Matthew and Leslie are doing the RIGHT thing in their situations. I know from years of experience that if they were to try to sell just worms and Svengali decks in their particular situation it would be not a good thing for them for various reasons an amateur wannabee like yourself would not understand. They NEED a great variety of merchandise. Other people won't but they do.
Isn't that the problem? You spend space chatting with old friends when an INTELLIGENT PERSON would know that kind of trivia should be PM. If you are giving advice to 1 or 2 people, why involve the rest of us who have NO INTEREST in your incessant blathering? Nor your condemnation of others! Frankly, NO ONE CARES if you have, nor have had, a gripe with Don. If you do, or did, TAKE IT TO A PM! Why involve the rest of us? Trust me, NOBODY CARES! And it's BOOOOORING!!

Quote:
As for Leslie I know the indoor market he is working. It isn't a place for just the one product.
Again, that little bit of tripe DOES NOT involve the rest of us. So, again, NOBODY CARES! TAKE IT TO A PM!

Quote:
I shall talk to Leslie as much as I want about the good old days. He was one of the top pros of his day and in fact he is even older than you. It may be off topic but that is the way I want it to be. I have been selling Svengali decks for nearly 50 years. I am not here to educate the unworthy and create competition for myself.
No, Dummy, we've figured out why you are here. It's to disrupt and vilify. But even doing THAT, you are still BOOOOORING!

Quote:
However, once in a while I will weaken...
Yes, you're proven MANY TIMES just how weak you are—MENTALLY!

Quote:
When you show up I am even more determined to shut up and tell you nothing.
In other words, if I'm here often, you'll SHUT UP? What a welcome relief. Thank you for the invitation. In that case, I shall be here often.

Jon
*Mark Lewis*
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Jon. Your nurse is waiting. And may I inform you that there is no such word as "pitchman" The proper word is GRAFTER. We British invented grafting and all the best products and best demonstrators come from Britain. Therefore it is OUR language that should be used. I shall repeat the word so that it becomes embedded in what is left of your brain. GRAFTER! GRAFTER! GRAFTER!.

My chatting to old friends as you put it happens to be education for those of you with brains enough to listen in and see what tips you can pick up. I was having a perfectly civil conversation with Leslie until you stormed in without being given a formal invitation to the conversation. This conversation was full of constructive useful information not only about Leslie's showbusiness career but also advice in the art of GRAFTING.

I am sorry if my presence here stops you and your cohorts babbling about things you know nothing about and giving away information about suppliers and venues to work, thus interfering with not only me making a living but other professional GRAFTERS.

If I chose to give away the knowledge which I have sweated blood for I would give it to you. However, I don't see why it should be given away willy-nilly to those who are not qualified to recieve it. And you CERTAINLY aren't. At your age you should be tucked up in bed in the nursing home rather than being allowed out to annoy the public.

Some people have been clever and tactful enough to get information out of me and in fact I have given more information free, albeit reluctantly, about the GRAFTING business on the internet than any other person.

Just seek and ye shall find. Other people have found it so you should be capable of doing so. At any rate I have no further time for you. I shall let other people reprimand you for your rudeness if they wish. For the moment I have only two words left to say to you. The second one is "off"
Leslie Melville
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I have no wish to become involved in the aggressive verbal exchanges currently taking place here, nor do I wish particularly to take sides, but as the instigator of this thread I feel entitled to make a couple of observations.

Firstly, I asked a specific question related to an item sold by street vendors. Mark was the first to respond with a valid and helpful suggestion. There then followed a number of relative points of discussion during which Willroya contributed some interesting and relevant comments - much of the information passed back and forth in the ensuing debate may well have been of interest to others engaged in the selling of magical/novelty items to the public.

So in response to your accusation Jon, I consider that Mark WAS offering 'help and camaraderie', and there MAY be others reading this thread with similar problems.

However as a result of Mark's inevitable 'dig' at magicians who have the audacity to dip their toes into an area of business that he amusingly considers to have exclusive rights (!) Jon-O the Great (no lack of ego there!) sails in with a load of vitriolic abuse - completely derailing the topic being discussed. Mark of course responded in the way we would all expect.

I would respectfully ask Jon-O to lighten up. Like most of us, I have read many of Mark's 'rants' in other forums and take them all with the proverbial pinch of salt. Those who rise to the bait and don't know when they are deliberately being 'sent up' deserve the rising blood pressure that will inevitably follow. So please stop the personal abuse and let's get back on topic - or if the subject is now exhausted - let it lie!

I now have the information that I originally asked for so to all those who made positive contributions - thank you.

Leslie
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Jon-O the Great
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Leslie,

I apologize to you and anyone else on this thread for my OFF TOPIC comments. I didn't read it thoroughly before commenting on Mark's usual inane stupidities.

However, what I say still goes concerning Mark and his “rants”. This is a man who evidently doesn't know the meaning of the word MODERATION. Or CIVIL. He is either all on or all off. And the worst part is, he CONSTANTLY runs down a guy who has helped, not only me, but dozens of others as well.

I don't know where or when the mutual dislike between Mark and Don began but it truly has NO place here. If Mark wants to “rant” at Don or vice versa, WHY NOT TAKE IT TO A PM? The forum is no place for the vitriol displayed here by Mark. And for that matter, by ME back at Mark! But you can't say Mark hasn't asked for it.

Frankly, when Mark came on the forum and began his “rants”, never having known him before, I thot it was kinda funny. Until he continually and consistently began berating Don in a personal way. Then, not only was it not funny, it was not NECESSARY. As for my “rising to the bait”, in my opinion, any intelligent adult can only take so much UNNECESSARY CRAP, then must do something about it. After several of Mark's posts, I DID THAT SOMETHING. And I continue to do it when I'm in the mood.

I TELL IT LIKE IT IS! There are those on this forum who feel that Mark is sick mentally. I have no idea if that is true. But I can certainly say that he is the ONLY one who has ever berated Don in a personal way. Even when Don berated Will Roya for his ideas, Will did not respond as Mark has. And Mark has NO obvious JUSTIFICATION.

So, Leslie and others, again, I apologize for going OT on this thread. In fact, this response might have been better served as a PM to you, instead of a post. However, since your response was a post, I felt it needed an open response. And I sincerely wish you good luck in the future.

Jon
*Mark Lewis*
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What a brainless twit. He doesn't realise that the reason I berate Don Driver is BECAUSE he has helped "dozens of people" By doing so he has been hindering me in my business. But those days are now over. No "help". No "camraderie". Nothing. It is all over for the babblers and wannabees. I have let this sit for a few days so that it sinks in. If JOn wants to have another rant I will let it sit even longer so that it dawns on even him that there are no responses and his game is over.

The King is dead. Long Live the King.
DonDriver
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*Mark Lewis*
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Oh, nobody cares any more. It has now faded into obscurity. Checkmate.
DonDriver
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It seems like Mr.Lewis has been banned yet again from here....my my what a susprise.He posted at another forum quote:"It ain't over until the fat lady sings " Well here you go... http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gb7nwoQVkQE

Don
Jon-O the Great
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Are you joshing me? That guy is gone??? I had a skunk die in my shed once. The stink hung around for months. Hope that doesn't happen here! Smile

Jon
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